Scotland’s most expensive footballer Oliver Burke said it was a dream come true after he capped off a memorable week by making his competitive debut for his country in the 5-1 victory against Malta.
Seven days after making a £13million move from Nottingham Forest to Bundesliga side RB Leipzig, Burke started for Gordon Strachan’s men in their opening World Cup qualifier in the Ta’Qali Stadium.
The 19-year-old won his first cap as an 82nd-minute substitute in a 1-0 friendly win against Denmark in March and was thrilled to make his first start as the Scots stormed to the top of Group F after the first round of fixtures.
He said: “I was delighted when I found out I was starting the match. It was a dream come true to get my competitive Scotland debut.
“It was a fantastic match but I felt I could have done a bit better. I’m always down on myself in games where I haven’t made a massive impact in the way I wanted. But I’ll learn from my mistakes. I’ve had a very interesting week.”
A Robert Snodgrass hat-trick as well as a goal each from Chris Martin and Steven Fletcher helped Scotland open their qualifying campaign with a resounding victory.
It looked like becoming an uncomfortable evening for Strachan’s side when Alfred Effiong cancelled out Snodgrass’ fortuitous opener but the Scots proved too strong in the second half, with Malta ending the match with nine men after being shown two red cards.
The Scots will now look to build on their Malta victory when they take on Lithuania at Hampden on October 8 ahead of a trip to Slovakia on October 11.
Burke said: “It’s a great start and now we need to kick on and keep winning games.
“I’m looking forward to the game against Lithuania at Hampden with the supporters behind us.
“This win can give us momentum. It’s a fantastic start and we need to keep going the way we’ve started.
“Malta gave it their best shot and I thought they did very well as we were a bit shaky at the start.
“We didn’t keep the ball well at times but we just had to cool down at half-time and play our normal football in the second half.
“We had to try to get some more shots off in what was a scruffy game and we got the goals we needed.
“We dug deep and showed our team chemistry. I thought it was great and I’m delighted for Robert Snodgrass getting his hat-trick.”